Coronavirus

How local doctors and public health experts are reacting to Biden picking MGH’s Rochelle Walensky to head CDC

“This is the happiest a bunch of stressed out, overworked and tired infectious diseases providers and epidemiologists have been in nearly 12 months.”

Rochelle Walensky

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Doctors and public health experts are celebrating the news that President-elect Joe Biden has picked Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, to serve as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in his administration. 

The decision to appoint Walensky was confirmed Monday morning in a press release, along with a slew of other key appointments to Biden’s health team, including that Dr. Anthony Fauci will continue on as a chief medical adviser to the president on COVID-19 and keep his role as Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. 

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Walensky will be replacing Dr. Robert Redfield, who was appointed to lead the CDC in 2018 by President Donald Trump. She will be taking on the role at a critical moment in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as cases continue to surge nationally and the states prepare for the distribution of vaccines that are awaiting FDA approval. Health experts have expressed concerns that the Trump administration has challenged, attacked, sidelined, and interfered with the CDC during the pandemic, hobbling its response to COVID-19. 

Doctors and experts were joyful in response to Walensky’s appointment on social media, with many saying her leadership will be pivotal as the pandemic continues and expressing hope that the MGH chief will restore the CDC to its previous reputation as a pre-eminent public health agency. 

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“If you know Rochelle, you know how much better 2021 will be for the US #COVID19 response,” Harvard’s Michael Mina wrote. 

“This is the happiest a bunch of stressed out, overworked and tired infectious diseases providers and epidemiologists have been in nearly 12 months,” Josh Barocas, an infectious disease physician at Boston Medical Center, wrote

Below, see what other public health experts are saying about Walenksy’s appointment. 

 

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